I noticed something new this week. During our two-hour lab period on Tuesday, I witnessed students browsing through one another's posts to get an idea of whether or not they were on track with the assignment requirements--or just to get an idea of what to write about or how to structure the response. Rather than ask me, students took the initiative to look to their peers for guidance. Facebook can be a bit clunky at times (much scrolling required), but the option to see what everybody is posting in real time is a big advantage for many students who need to see a model as part of their composition process.
I'm thinking about how I might take this to the next stage and create virtual partners or groups. Students could be paired based on ability (or not) and take responsibility for each other throughout the semester. Students might be paired (or grouped) with other students from another course or a different section of the same course. This might work with groups for a specific project, or it might work to have students paired (or grouped) throughout the semester--a kind of "buddy system." Pairs and groups could rotate. Part of each student's grade might be an evaluation from their partner or group members. In any case, virtual pairing or grouping might work well. This might also eliminate some of the inevitable awkwardness of actual pairing or grouping as well as the difficulty of coordinating schedules to meet after class.